Peretz to reopen Karni crossing

For first time since January, crossing will open for goods from Gaza to Israel.

peretz halutz 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
peretz halutz 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A day after a Katyusha rocket hit a chicken coop in Moshav Netiv Ha'asara in the western Negev, Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided to reopen the main crossing with the Gaza Strip later in the day, military officials said. The Karni crossing has been closed on and off since January due to terror alerts, but only for goods entering Gaza from Israel. This time, Peretz decided to open the crossing in both directions. Islamic Jihad terrorists on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the firing of the Katyusha rocket. The Grad-type Katyusha rocket, the army said, had a range of up to 20 kilometers although on Tuesday the rocket landed only three-and-a-half kilometers from its launch site. The rocket's warhead, officials said, carried six kilograms of explosives and was far more lethal than the homemade Kassam rocket, fired almost daily by Palestinians at the western Negev. On Tuesday, Peretz visited the Northern Gaza Brigade headquarters outside of kibbutz Nahal Oz in his first visit to a military base since taking office less than two weeks ago. During a security assessment he held at the base together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, Peretz said that the defense establishment was "studying" the Katyusha rocket fire and raising different ways to deal with the threat. The army, he added, did not intend to change its current anti-Kassam tactics which included IAF missile strikes and daily artillery barrages on Kassam launch sites. "The residents of the Gaza Strip need to understand that Israel has no interest in escalating the situation," Peretz said. "The fact that the Palestinian Authority allows radical elements to do as they wish is what is turning the civilian population in Gaza into hostages."